• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
American art student sexually assaulted on Paris Metro
Dupleix Metro station where the attack occurred. Photo: Osbornb/Flickr

American art student sexually assaulted on Paris Metro

Ben McPartland · 4 Mar 2016, 09:49

Published: 04 Mar 2016 09:49 GMT+01:00

The shocking incident took place at 10.30 am on Tuesday at the Dupleix Metro station in the wealthy 15th arrondissement in the south of the city.

According to Metronews which revealed the incident, CCTV images showed that the young art student was initially followed through the Metro station by her attacker.

As she stepped onto the escalator at the station “the man went behind her, lowered his trousers, before penetrating her using his fingers," a police source told BFM TV.

She cried out and her screams put off the attacker and he fled the scene. According to reports a passerby came to aid before calling police and paramedics.

She was taken to the Saint-Joseph hospital in the 14th arrondissement suffering from shock. She later filed an official complaint with police for the sexual assault.

"The investigation is being taken very seriously," a source close to the case told Metronews, while an unnamed police source said "There are no doubts about the veracity of the facts."

The incident has been classed as "rape” in France, becasue the definition of the crime includes penetration by digits, rather than just the penis, as is the case in the UK.

Her attacker has not been arrested and Paris’s transport police are in charge of the investigation.

Gail Denicola, communications director at the American University of Paris told The Local that new American students are warned each year about the potential dangers of sexual harassment on the Metro.

"We tell students to be particularly aware on the Paris Metro and encourage them to take taxis at night," she said.

"We tell them to pay attention to their surroundings, no matter what time or day it is and to avoid being alone on the platform," she said.

"Stop - That's Enough!"

The incident comes as authorities in France are making efforts to fight sexual harassment on the Paris Metro.

A survey in April last year by the High Council for Equality between Women and Men (HCEfh) found that a full 100 percent of the 600 women in Seine-Saint-Denis and Essonne, two areas in the outer suburbs of Paris, said they had experienced at least some form of gender-based sexual harassment in their life while riding the train.

The government responded to the shocking results by launching a campaign under the title “Stop – That’s Enough”.

The awareness campaign was launched together with rail operator SNCF and Paris transport chiefs RATP. 

Story continues below…

It saw flyers handed out and a set of posters put up in key places around the capital, encouraging victims and witnesses to speak out with confidence about sexual harassment.

The campaign also aims to remind the culprits that sexual harassment is punishable by law and groping can lead to five years in prison. 

The picture below shows one such poster, and represents a Metro line where each stop is labelled with comments from an increasingly aggressive harasser. The comments escalate from "Mademoiselle" and "You're charming" to "I'm going to grab you".

By the end of the line, the response comes: "Stop - that's enough!"

Other measures saw the implementation of the emergency number 3117, which can be used to report cases of harassment, and to trigger the intervention of security staff.
 
It will soon work via text message too for situations when women aren't able to speak on the phone. 
 

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Summer in France: The top ten beaches
Photo: Gomezdegomera/Flickr

How many have you been to?

France braces for busiest day of traffic all summer
Photo: AFP

Thinking of driving this weekend? The French are being advised to think twice.

Opinion
'France has problems but it's not on brink of civil war'
A French police officer stands in front of a Muslim prayer room after it was destroyed by a fire, suspected to be arson, in Ajaccio.. Photo: AFP

While certain French politicians and security chiefs have openly talked of the nightmare prospect of civil war in France, one expert tells The Local the country is too resolute to go down that path.

Ten hidden gems in France you should visit this summer
Photo: Erik Harström/Flickr

Looking for holiday ideas this summer?

What's on: Ten cool things to do in France in August 2016
Photo: AFP

August is almost here - and we've got you covered for events.

Paris in August: Should you stay or should you go now?
Photo: AFP

When it comes to August in Paris, you're either a stayer or a goer. But which is the best choice?

French PM: 'France needs new relationship with Islam'
Photo: AFP

As France struggles to get to grips with an increasing number of terror attacks the French PM says the country needs a new relationship with Islam.

France's Muslims urged to attend mass in solidarity
Photo: AFP

A leading Muslim group in France has called on its community to attend a church mass this Sunday to show solidarity with Christians after the recent jihadist killing of a priest.

Hopes hit as France reports 'disappointing' zero growth
Photo: AFP

Hopes of small economic growth in France were hit on Friday when the latest GDP figures were announced.

Air France strike affects 30,000 passengers each day
Photo: AFP

The week-long Air France cabin crew strike continued on Friday with some 30,000 passengers hit by cancellations each day.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Travel
Summer in France: The top ten beaches
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
France: A timeline of terror since the Charlie Hebdo attack
A timeline of terror in France since Charlie Hebdo
Culture
Thirteen free and easy ways to learn French
Culture
32 mistakes foreigners make when they arrive in France
National
Here are the worst scams to avoid whilst driving in France
Analysis & Opinion
Isis can simply be a conduit for the violent desires of psychopaths
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
2,757
jobs available